Jump to content

Do you think Donkey Kong Jr. on the 2600 is a terrible game or a decent port?


HDN
 Share

Recommended Posts

Donkey Kong Jr. is infamous for being a terrible port, though I don't think it deserves it. The graphics aren't great(Junior looks like a bootleg Homer Simpson and DK has a cardboard box for a head), and there's no fruit to drop, but I feel it is a good enough port for 1983. What are your thoughts on this classic Nintendo arcade game's VCS port?

 

image.jpg.ae61a8c41a8f9e6498d2aed67e2a75c2.jpg

 

image.jpg.07febbb09802305696e1237a197ac85a.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it was (and is) impressive.  It doesn't look great, but the gameplay is there. 

While we're on the topic, I'm also a fan of Donkey Kong on 2600.  I know it's way too easy and there's only two screens.  But still, it got the gameplay pretty close.  I remember buying that one from Toys R Us and reading the box and instructions on the way home, running in when we got there, and playing for hours.  Great memories.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@RickR Donkey Kong is great! People say it doesn't increase in difficulty, but I've found that after a while the barrels move a little faster and the fireballs move more erratically. The barrels don't matter much because I believe the game only ever has one per girder, but the fireballs in the later levels are devious!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The lack of the fruit drop really ruins it for me, although I think this is marginally better than the Donkey Kong 2600 port. "Good enough for 1983" isn't good enough for a pillar game like Donkey Kong. I don't know for certain the truth about the "conspiracy theories" with Coleco releasing a sub-par game to highlight the 2600 weaknesses in comparison with ColecoVision, but Atari should've released a better version for the 2600 version once they attained the license later on in the 80s. The Atari 2600 was never made to do a game like Donkey Kong Jr. but solid games like Moon Patrol, Solaris, and Mario Bros especially show that you could work around the 2600's limitations. Nintendo never accepted "good enough" for their pillar titles on NES, and Atari should've held everything to high standards too, especially after Tramiel snatched up the rights to many of these third party games after the crash.

Not a horrible game, but a mediocre port without the fruit drop. Two and a half stars.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You hit the nail on the head @Justin  It was all about the lack of quality control at Atari. 

I never bought the Coleco conspiracy theory.  The Atari ports weren't terrible.  And while the Intellivision Donkey Kong was awful, I'd guess it was really hard to find a developer that knew the system well enough to do better.  Mattel didn't have an exodus of developer talent like Atari did, right? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Justin I respect your opinion. However, the fruits never were a big problem for me. There aren't very many enemies at the same time in this version, much less in the same vertical space. To me, the fruits were all about multi-enemy combo bonuses. There would be little incentive to using the fruits in this game even if they were there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow. A lot of differing opinions on this one. Personally I don't care for 2600 junior at all, but enjoyed DK. However my opinion is flipped for the Intellivision ports.

And the people who claim coleco made bad ports on purpose are very ignorant how big businesses work. No business would every want their name to be associated with a bad product, not too mention all the money they would lose developing and promoting it. It was common in those days for competing companies to publish games on each other's systems to make more money. Atari even made a great port of Pac-Man for the Intellivision, one that surpassed the 2600 by a wide margin.

The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I first got DKJr, I really enjoyed the game.  It had three screens to play through and, even though the graphics weren't sophisticated, it was good enough for me to enjoy.  The sound effects, on the other hand, were a bit annoying.  I still think it was a pretty impressive port for the system. 

Several homebrew developers have improved the original DK for the 2600 but no one has really done the same for DKJr.

Edited by TrekMD

🖖 Going to the final frontier, gaming...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I played the homebrew DK before never played the original 2600 DK. I put some time in today for the first time, and I'm very impressed. Yes, there are only two levels, but they play very well and the graphics, outside of DK himself, look very good. 

I tried my hand at DK Jr but maybe I should have read the manual first. I do I jump from vine to vine?? I'll give it some time later after reading the manual.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have only played DK on the 2600 and found the game rather...unimpressive.  I'm not a fan of DK or DK JR at all but I appreciate them and I know how much fun those two games are to others.  But the 2600 ports of both games are really something someone would have been desperate for to enjoy.  Today, I can appreciate the 2600 ports but they still don't impress me at all.  DK I would play more than JR but that's just me. 

And, I agree with @Justin about Coleco trying to showcase just how poor games could be on the 2600.  It makes perfect sense as it opened the door for their ColecoVision system.  Honestly what it did was show just how easy it was for anyone with the know how to make something for the 2600 without Atari controlling what played on it.  The 2600 was king and those that owned it wanted more games for it.  It didn't take long for wannabe developers/publishers to try to cash in with poorly made programs that only looked the part.  That is what really caused the crash.  It wasn't E.T. or Pac-Man...it was the lack of quality that went into tons of first and third party Atari games that started flooding the markets to the point no one could keep up, the games sucked, and no one wanted them.  Those that got them as gifts that didn't like them simply returned them.  Some were forewarned and never even opened the boxes and tried the games.  Yea...it was that bad.  Games like DK and DK JR pretty much warned what was to come.

Like E.T. and Pac-Man they aren't 100% bad and there are "games" much worse on the 2600 (Star Fox & Fire Fly anyone?) but they are not 100% accurate either and I think that is what hurts them besides visuals looking like something a first grader drew up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, HDN said:

@kamakazi20012 I beg to differ. The original DK is super impressive for only being 4k. Here's an interview with the creator, Garry Kitchen, from Retro Gamer magazine:

https://www.retrogamer.net/profiles/developer/garry-kitchen

Agreed. DK 2600 looks crude but I have no doubt that Garry Kitchen got as much as he could out of the game given 4k and time constraints.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/17/2020 at 12:30 PM, RickR said:

I never bought the Coleco conspiracy theory.  The Atari ports weren't terrible.  And while the Intellivision Donkey Kong was awful, I'd guess it was really hard to find a developer that knew the system well enough to do better.  Mattel didn't have an exodus of developer talent like Atari did, right? 

AGREED!! I've never bought into this "conspiracy theory" but I've never seen any proof of anything either way. It could simply have been that Coleco's management were making similar financial decisions as those that Atari made on 2600 Pac-Man. MBAs deciding to save a few cents by forcing Donkey Kong into a 4K game instead of 8K or more. 2600 Donkey Kong was programmed by Garry Kitchen who is possibly more known as an Activision alumnus, in his interview he cites 2600 Pac-Man as what he was trying to avoid

 

23 hours ago, HDN said:

@Justin I respect your opinion. However, the fruits never were a big problem for me. 

It just felt empty to me without the fruit to drop on the heads of enemies. And by then I had ColecoVision and later Atari 7800 options available to me. Yet I still prefer 2600 Asteroids to any other versions. Just my personal experience.

 

21 hours ago, nosweargamer said:

Wow. A lot of differing opinions on this one. Personally I don't care for 2600 junior at all, but enjoyed DK. However my opinion is flipped for the Intellivision ports.

And the people who claim coleco made bad ports on purpose are very ignorant how big businesses work. No business would every want their name to be associated with a bad product, not too mention all the money they would lose developing and promoting it. It was common in those days for competing companies to publish games on each other's systems to make more money. Atari even made a great port of Pac-Man for the Intellivision, one that surpassed the 2600 by a wide margin.

Agreed on both points. I think the new DK for Intellivision is pretty neat though. As for Coleco's 2600 games, I wasn't impressed by them generally, but I didn't think it was intentional. Again, Atari was guilty of the same decision making that brought about some sour games.

 

21 hours ago, HDN said:

I would recommend both DK and DK JR to people just starting out. Now if only they made a Donkey Kong 3 port for the system...

That would be great! Would really love a nice looking DK3 on 7800.

 

19 hours ago, TrekMD said:

Several homebrew developers have improved the original DK for the 2600 but no one has really done the same for DKJr.

It would be nice to see this.

 

18 hours ago, socrates63 said:

I tried my hand at DK Jr but maybe I should have read the manual first. I do I jump from vine to vine?? I'll give it some time later after reading the manual.

You can reach over to the vines next to you, just like in the other versions of the game. That aspect of the 2600 release is a plus in my book.

 

3 hours ago, HDN said:

@kamakazi20012 I beg to differ. The original DK is super impressive for only being 4k.

I agree it's impressive for being 4K. But the game shouldn't have been 4K. Somewhere someone decided to try to do Donkey Kong with only 4K and that was probably the decision that most impacted how the game turned out.

I would have liked to see Jack Tramiel's Atari offer an improved version of Atari 2600 Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. during the 2600 Red Label era. They should've created a 16K version of Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. on par with 2600 Solaris and released it to great fanfare. 

 

2 hours ago, Atari Creep said:

I think it's meh at best. Plays fine but even for the consoles limitations I find it ugly and lazy. Has the feel of a very rushed port. 

 

I am a fan of the OG DK if that gives ya a point of reference for my thoughts. 

There it is right there 👆

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, Justin said:

I agree it's impressive for being 4K. But the game shouldn't have been 4K.

I wholeheartedly agree. I believe Kitchen mentions that he wanted an 8K cart but Coleco refused to keep it cheap to produce in the interview I posted earlier.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, socrates63 said:

I played the homebrew DK before never played the original 2600 DK

Never played DKVCS before. Always been a little intrigued. It looks like the scrolling might be a little distracting.

Edit: Put the rom on my Wii about two hours ago. Very impressive and well-made game. Scrolling isn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

Edited by HDN
Played Donkey Kong VCS!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Original DK on the 2600 is 4K?  Looks more like 2K.  I think I have it...Yep...I found it.  

In order for the newbies to Atari I/O understand why I answered like I did, I know Justin will know where I'm coming from, I didn't get a 2600 when I was a kid.  I begged and begged for an "Atari" and woke up to one on a Christmas morning but I got the 5200 4-port which remains my all-time favorite game console.  That's what I grew up with.  THAT's what I use to compare 2600 games against.  To me the 5200 ports of the same 2600 games simply stood out and played better.  I loved everything about my 5200 then...I still love everything about the 5200 today.  I didn't get DK but I remember one school morning when mom had to go to work early and took me to a neighbors house.  They were playing DK and I had a hard time not laughing out loud.  It looked OK but the colors were all wrong, the game made funny noises and it didn't sound like DK at all.  I was very picky then about the video games I got.  I'm a LOT more biased now and the 2600 has a very special place in my heart along side the 5200.  

Because of the 5200 I have managed to find some entertainment value in the 2600 and it's rather large library of games.  I've got 2600 games I would not be caught without as an Atari collector...it's simply against the rules LOL.  I've got 3 2600 models (2 JRs and 1 4-switch woody) that I use a LOT more than I do my 5200  That's saying something.  It use to be that you couldn't get me to even look at a 2600 game...I was content with my 5200 and it's small library of games.  As my 2600 library grew so did my interest in it.  I've found a lot of impressive games on the 2600 that I wish my 5200 got but never did.

So, when I say that both DK and DK JR on the 2600 looked horrible to me it is because of what I grew up with and what I would have expected to see.  It doesn't mean I don't like the games on the 2600.  DK is actually fun for having only 2 levels and it's not bad.  But I'm also not a DK fan at all (unless it's DK Country on the SNES...that one I like).  I don't know why but the arcade DK just never kept my interest.  I will play it and I do have fun with it but it's one of those games that's like some foods and drinks...it's an acquired taste.

I have DK JR on the 7800 and it's good...but again not one I play very often.  I'm glad I have them both...very glad to have them...I just don't play 'em as much as others would.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

I begged and begged for an "Atari" and woke up to one on a Christmas morning but I got the 5200 4-port which remains my all-time favorite game console.

Ah yes. You're the 5200 guy. I read one of your posts from a while back. Super Breakout, right?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

In order for the newbies to Atari I/O understand why I answered like I did

Thank you for taking the time to explain your thoughts @kamakazi20012 it's nice to read a fleshed-out response like that so we can all have a better understanding of where you're coming form.

 

2 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

I know Justin will know where I'm coming from

I do, and I appreciate you helping others here understand too.

 

2 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

I begged and begged for an "Atari" and woke up to one on a Christmas morning but I got the 5200 4-port which remains my all-time favorite game console.

What year was that?

 

2 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

I've got 2600 games I would not be caught without as an Atari collector...it's simply against the rules LOL.

Well it's not that there are "rules" but the 2600 did some games incredibly well, especially the types of games it was designed to do, like paddle games and super simple games. Warlords is one of my all-time favorite party games. Whenever I have a lot of people over we get a 4-Player round of Warlords going and it's terrific. Other games like Asteroids, Missile Command, Moon Patrol, I prefer many games on the 2600 to any other. I could say I have "exclusives" for every system.

 

2 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

As my 2600 library grew so did my interest in it.  I've found a lot of impressive games on the 2600 that I wish my 5200 got but never did.

7800 guy here, chiming in. I don't understand why we never had a nice Missile Command on the 7800. Even as a home-brew. Seems obvious. Tempest and Crystal Castles too.

 

2 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

But I'm also not a DK fan at all (unless it's DK Country on the SNES...that one I like).

I'm just now beginning to appreciate how unreal Donkey Kong Country was. In hindsight, did it blow Jaguar and 3DO out of the water with those graphics? Maybe, maybe not. I feel like Donkey Kong Country looks better graphically than some games on Nintendo 64.

 

2 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

So, when I say that both DK and DK JR on the 2600 looked horrible to me it is because of what I grew up with and what I would have expected to see. 

"Looking horrible" and being horrible games are two different things. I had friends come over to play Jaguar in 1993 and 1994, only to find ourselves playing Centipede on 7800 and California Games on Lynx. 

 

2 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

I have DK JR on the 7800 and it's good...but again not one I play very often.  I'm glad I have them both...very glad to have them...I just don't play 'em as much as others would.

So here's the Million Dollar Question for you @kamakazi20012: when the time rolls around that you DO decide to play a round of Donkey Kong Jr., maybe play with friends or family, what video game system are you playing it on?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Justin said:

Thank you for taking the time to explain your thoughts @kamakazi20012 it's nice to read a fleshed-out response like that so we can all have a better understanding of where you're coming form.

You're welcome and I don't want people to think I'm being a total butt.  I have favorites just like any other gamer.  I'm not afraid to speak my mind or express how I feel.  I try to keep things G - PG at least.  I'm not here to upset or cause drama at all.  It's why I don't like Facebook.  This is my online home and I try to avoid all of that garbage because there's enough going on in the real world that we don't need in here.  This is a save haven from all that.  

5 hours ago, Justin said:

What year was that?

I want to say 1982.  I was in third grade when I got it Christmas morning.  And my third grade year was the 1982-83 school year.  Did you know 5200 carts fit inside an 8-track case?

 

5 hours ago, Justin said:

7800 guy here, chiming in. I don't understand why we never had a nice Missile Command on the 7800. Even as a home-brew. Seems obvious. Tempest and Crystal Castles too.

Well...I got Tempest on my 5200 thanks to it getting completed.  Very fun game.  I just wish it would have been finished when it mattered.  There were others still in prototype form that should have been released on the 5200 but never did.  I would have loved to see Activision, Imagic, and even Atari give the 5200 as much attention as they gave the 2600.  I didn't get Yar's Revenge on my 5200.  I didn't get Warlords on my 5200.  I had what was suppose to be the "most advanced system" but didn't get jack compared to what the 2600 got.  Supersystem...blah...awesome arcade graphics and sounds combined with very sensitive controls that actually work well when they are cared for properly...but what good are they when the game list is lack luster and begging for more titles?  To its defense it did get a few games that are considered exclusive to it...namely Countermeasure and Space Dungeon.  

So I feel you when you say the 7800 should have got games like Missile Command.  At least the 7800 got Asteroids.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, kamakazi20012 said:

Yep.  One and only.  😄 Maybe I ought to change my username here to 5200 Guy.  I get that a lot LOL. And, yes, to Super Breakout.  I have to ask, though, which post?

I spent a chunk of the day looking for it. Heh heh...

It was in the thread Coolest Atari Game? in Classic Gaming General.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Join the Atari Party! :donkey_kong_big:

    How lucky are you that you've finally found this place?
    It's time to join the best kept secret in classic gaming.
    Membership is limited, so let's get started! :wreck-it-ralph:

     

×
×
  • Create New...